Cane Festival competition judges unveiled

The first International Sugar Cane Spirits Festival & Tasting Competition will set some benchmarks for sugar-based spirits when an international panel of judges renders it decisions later this month in Tampa's Ybor City.

Spirits will be judged in the following classes:

√ Overproof
√ Flavored / Spiced / Cream
√ White Rum, including those spirits aged less than one year.
√ Dark Rum
√ Premium Rum
√ Rhum Agricole Blanc
√ Rhum Agricole Vieux
√ Cacahça, unaged
√ Cacahça, aged

The judges, in alphabetical order by nation:


Paul Artrip, Virginia
Rum collector, food and beverage writer for regional Parrot Head Clubs.

Natalie Brown, Ybor City, FL
Owner, Good Luck Café, Ybor City.

Robert A. Burr, Coral Gables, FL
Host of the "Gifted Rums" seminar in Coral Gables, FL.; editor of The Pedestrian Pocket Guide to Coral Gables and the "Coral Gables Pedestrian Guide" Web site.

Christopher Carlsson, New York
Editor, Spirits Review.

Peter Covino, Kissimmee, FL
Entertainment editor, dining critic and spirit connisseur at the Osceola (FL) News-Gazette.

Gary Crowder, New York
Senior Vice President/Resort Operations at Mohegan Sun Hotel Casino, Uncasville, CT.

Wayne Curtis, Maine
Author, ""And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World In 10 Cocktails," scheduled for summer release by Crown; travel writer and contributor to numerous Frommer's guidebooks.

William M. Dowd, Albany, NY
Editor and publisher of Dowd's Bar Blog, a blog-ring of four online sites; associate editor and chief restaurant critic for the Times Union newspaper and its two Web sites; published in literally dozens of U.S. and Canadian newspapers and such national magazines as Sante, and on numerous Web sites.

Catherine Eagles, San Francisco, CA
Rum connoisseur; president, Buzzbar Productions.

Daphne Muse, Oakland, CA
Writer published in The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury and Hungry Mind Review; commentaries have aired on WTOP-FM and NPR.

Jack Robertiello, New York
Writer and Web editor for Adams Beverage Group, former editor "Cheers"; author of "Mangia, The Best Italian Food in New York City."

Ed Schiller , Ybor City, FL
Sea captain and master mariner, has traveled the world sampling indigenous spirits in their local environs; owner of Gaspar's Grotto in Ybor City.


Ian Burrell, London
Owner of Cottons, an award-winning Caribbean restaurant in London with the largest collection of rums in the UK; rum expert for Taste & Flavour School for Spirits.


Duane Dove, Sweden
Proprietor/sommelier of Sjögräs, restaurant and bar with what reputedly is the largest rum collection in Sweden; roots in Trinidad & Tobago and Guadeloupe; known for his “Rum & Chocolate,” matching aged rums with chocolates made with Caribbean cocoa.


• Francisco Fernandez, Panama
Master distiller at Varela Hermanos, makers of Abuelo and other rums.

Following the March 22-25 festival, results will be distributed to the national alcoholic beverage media, the Caribbean travel media and posted on the Ministry of Rum and Polished Palate Web sites.

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